PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Opening statements took place in the trial of a valley woman accused of faking Cancer to get a state-funded abortion.
Chalice Zeitner is accused of falsifying a medical record to an OB and claiming that her pregnancy put her life in jeopardy.
Zeitner was in the courtroom briefly, she opted not to stay and be part of the trial, instead choosing to go back to her cell and let her attorneys handle the case. Once she left attorneys began their opening arguments, the prosecutor explained to the jury Zeitner's alleged motive.
"So she could receive a pregnancy termination that was paid for by the State of Arizona, and money for a Cancer fundraiser when she never had Cancer at all," said Maura Quigley.
The prosecutor also claims Zeitner forged a letter from a doctor in Boston detailing her Cancer diagnosis and brought it to her Arizona doctor who later terminated her pregnancy.
"She told Dr. Steven Nelson that she needed a pregnancy termination, not because the fetus had been exposed to radiation, but in order to save her own life," said Quigley.
They claim she also tricked her boyfriend into setting up online fundraisers for her, but her defense attorney claims Zeitner was led to believe she did have Cancer.
"I am going to ask you to find Ms. Zeitner not guilty, because she is innocent, because she genuinely believed she had Cancer back in 2009 and 2010," said defense attorney Adam Schwartz.
But her attorney did not go into detail why she believed she had terminal Cancer.
Zeitner faces a number of charges including forgery, fraud, and attempted theft. The cases resumes on Monday.
Trial in State v Chalice Zeitner has begun. State has begun their opening statements.— MC Superior Court (@courtpio) April 7, 2016
Woman accused of faking cancer to get state to pay for abortion declined to be in court for opening statements today pic.twitter.com/vRKaXEkCdl— Andrew Hasbun (@andrewfox10) April 7, 2016
Prosecutor: woman on state Medicaid faked cancer to receive state funded abortion. Showed forged letter to AZ docs. pic.twitter.com/rXm4RNaCkE— Andrew Hasbun (@andrewfox10) April 7, 2016
Defense: woman accused of faking cancer to get abortion is innocent cause she genuinely thought she had cancer... pic.twitter.com/g8bVTfUyop— Andrew Hasbun (@andrewfox10) April 7, 2016